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Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Michigan State University

Laura Yares is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Michigan State University, with a joint appointment in the MSU Program for Jewish Studies. Her research and teaching focuses on Jews and Judaism in modernity, with particular interests in Jewish education.

She is the author of Jewish Sunday Schools, a historical analysis of the development of Jewish Sunday schools in nineteenth-century America. It will be published in the North American Religions Series at NYU Press in August 2023. Jewish Sunday Schools explores the gendered dynamics of nineteenth-century supplemental Jewish education, and the ways in which the women – and men – who pioneered the field sought to recreate Jewish education as religious education.

With Sharon Avni (CUNY), she is also currently at work on a contemporary ethnographic project exploring Jewish learning in cultural arts settings, supported by the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education at Brandeis University. This research investigates the ways that museums, television shows, digital media, music, and theatre serve as vibrant settings for Jews and non-Jews to learn about Judaism and Jewishness, and to explore their own religious and cultural identities. More information on this work in progress can be found on the project webpage:


  • 2018–2023
    Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Michigan State University